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How about a suit you can run a half-marathon in? A sweater that uses carbonised coffee to absorb odours?

Indian-American Aman Advani’s fashion start-up Ministry of Supply revolutionising business wear, inspired by NASA spacesuits

India At Large staff

This isn’t your average performance gear—it’s polished menswear that incorporates advanced technology to make your life that much easier. We’re talking about products — ranging from socks and pants to dress shirts and jackets — that use fabrics and manufacturing techniques designed to make professional clothes cooler, drier, and more stretchy, without looking like the wearer just stepped off the golf course.

A suit you can run a half-marathon in. A sweater that uses carbonised coffee to absorb odours. These are the sorts of things that Massachusetts-based fashion brand Ministry of Supply is bringing to the world of fashion. Some of the technology, such as special heat-regulating substances embedded in the fabrics, were developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to help keep astronauts comfortable in orbit.

While graduating at the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 – which he joined after consulting with Deloitte – Aman Advani co-founded Ministry of Supply, a clothing brand which seeks to reinvent business wear to include the benefits of athletic gear, said Span Magazine in a feature.

He used “phase change materials” engineered by the space agency that regulate body temperatures.

“As an engineer, you’re taught to tinker, which has always been natural to me. With dress socks, in particular, the solution was simple,” he said in the interview. He said he took his favourite Nike socks, sewed them inside the dress he wore to work. “With my mom’s help on the sewing machine, I had an easy route to testing and proving that a simple mash-up was better than the incumbent,” he added.

Advani, who is the chief executive of the brand, met the co-founders of the company at MIT.

“We were introduced to each other since we stood out from the rest of the start-up crowd. There aren’t too many fashion entrepreneurs at MIT. We all saw a near identical picture of a brand that stood for so much more than a mixture of technology and style,” he was quoted as saying.

Elaborating about the history behind the name of the company, which would remind people of James Bond movies, Advani said: “We love our name’s story. It represents the ’empathetic inventor’; where Q, from the James Bond films, gets Bond ready for anything while always looking sharp.

“Much like Q – whose character is actually based on a real person in the early 1900s’ British government, operating under the cover, Ministry of Supply – we’re in the labs making sure that our customer looks sharp and feels ready for anything.”

“As the lines between work, play, and downtime continue to blur, we need essential garments that keep up with our entire day. We’ve set out to achieve that versatility through capable garments that actually fit the human body and are easy to care for and wear, no matter what you choose to do in them,” the company website says.

This year, the company plans to expand its reach through products, channels and even some in-house manufacturing, reports say.


Kuala Lumpur has just appointed its new police commissioner – and he’s an Indian-origin Sikh

amar singh

58-year-old Amar Singh is the first Sikh to achieve the top police post in the Muslim-majority country

India At Large staff

An Indian-origin Sikh has become the police commissioner of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the first Sikh to achieve the top police post in the Muslim-majority country. Amar Singh, 58, succeeded Tajuddin Mohamed as the Kuala Lumpur police commissioner on Monday.

In his speech during the ceremony at the city police headquarters, Amar said that his appointment was an honour to the minority races in Malaysia, especially Sikhs who make up only 0.16 per cent of the police force’s manpower, New Straits Times reported.

“This also proves that the force’s leadership are colour-blind in promoting its officers as well as in executing our duties,” he said.

“This shows that our leadership does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of their race or background,” Amar, who was former Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief for several years, said at the handing over of duties ceremony.

He commended his predecessor Tajuddin for bringing the crime index down by 17.6 per cent during his tenure as the city police chief.

Singh’s appointment was announced last month.

A third-generation policeman from his family, he achieved the highest ever rank by a Malaysian Sikh. His father and maternal grandfather were both policemen.

Singh’s father Ishar Singh joined the Federated Malay States Police in 1939, a year after coming to Malaya from Punjab and was a pioneer member of the police jungle squad established during the Emergency.

His maternal grandfather Bachan Singh was a constable who joined the force in the early 1900s.

Singh graduated in BSc from the University of Malaya here and did his LLB from the University of Buckingham, the UK. He has a diploma in Sharia Law.

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Indian American lends a helping hand to amputees, and he’s just 13!


Here’s how Arizona resident Vishakk Rajendran is doing it…

India At Large staff

A 13-year-old Indian American Boy Scout from Tucson, Arizona, has taken the initiative to create and develop low-cost 3-D printed prosthetic hands that promises to help many amputees.

Vishakk Rajendran, who became interested in working with a 3-D printer during a Boy Scout merit badge day, didn’t take long before he learned how to use the equipment. While learning about the 3-D printer, he discovered e-NABLE, which is an organization that develops prosthetics.

The two have now partnered on developing 3-D printed prosthetic hands, and Rajendran has started a Tucson chapter of the organization to help more people around the world and teach people about the uses of 3-D printing.

The teen explained how 3-D printed prosthetics works.

“First we make the model of the hand pieces using a CAD software. Then we use a different software on the computer in order to change the model from an ‘stl’ file to a ‘g-code,’” the Boy Scout told India-West.

“This software will slice the model into layers and it will write instructions for the 3-D printer on how to print the object.

“Then we put this file onto an SD card and insert it into the 3-D printer. Once we have all of the pieces printed, we assemble the hand by fitting together the pieces and then tying the cords onto the hand,” Rajendran explained.

“These cords act like tendons that attach to the fingers in order to make them bend,” he added. “There are elastic cords that run along the top of the hand in order to hold the fingers up. There are inelastic cords that run along the bottom of the hand that attach to the gauntlet of the hand. This way, the fingers will bend when the user bends their wrist.”

Many prosthetic hands currently offered can cost upwards of $5,000, and prosthetic arms can reach prices around $20,000. What Rajendran has accomplished in the 3-D prosthetic hands costs about $40 to make.

And he isn’t taking any money in return for his product. Instead, he said, “we donate them free … to anyone who needs a prosthetic hand or can’t afford one. We ship them both locally and globally.”

In order to make the prosthetics, Rajendran introduced his Boy Scout troop as to how to do the work as part of his Eagle Scout service projects. He trained the Scouts and other friends at his school on the assembly of the hands.

Additionally, he hosted an event Feb. 13 where roughly 70 people helped assemble the 3-D printed prosthetic hands, helped by his previously-trained Boy Scouts. A couple dozen hands were made at the event.

The hands, which he prints at home using a 3-D printer his family purchased for $1,200, were donated by a 3-D printing company, STAX3D. Rajendran added he also buys the screws, cords and tools needed for assembly. The cost of everything, he told India-West, was met through fundraising, which his Boy Scout troops helped reach.

Rajendran, whose parents are originally from Tamil Nadu, said he is also working with STAX to print the hands and educate people on 3-D printing.

While he hasn’t spoken with anyone who has received the 3-D printed prosthetic hand, he has spoken to others about the use of prosthetic hands, who have told him that the hands they received instill a confidence they previously lacked. That knowledge, he said, provides him with the motivation to continue making his 3-D printed versions.

His father, Rajendran Subramaniam, has helped – along with e-NABLE and STAX – Rajendran get his project off the ground. The results of his son’s work have filled him with pride.

“I am very proud of what he has accomplished,” he told India-West. “I was able to recollect his essay he wrote about his experience when he met a person who was using a prosthetic device when he was in sixth grade,” Subramaniam recalled.

Going forward, the Boy Scout’s father hopes he continues to follow the path he’s on.

“It is nice to see he had pursued his interest in a way that he is able to help others,” he added. “I would like him to continue to do this good work.”


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